gifts

My Fave Photo Calendars for 2015

 

So many calendars, so little time. Love these 2015 custom photo calendar designs - especially the wooden clipboard one.Every year around this time, I print a photo calendar for the upcoming year, using pictures from the previous year. I usually choose a standard monthly wall calendar, but this time, the design options seem to have exploded. Another great feature this time around:  mobile apps that let you create a calendar directly from your phone. So many great calendar designs, so little time left to choose.

Above are a few of my favorite calendars for 2015, below are the calendar sources:

01 Artifact Uprising / 02 Pinhole Press / 03 Minted / 04 Printic / 05 Printstagram / 06 Pinhole Press

Flower Seed Valentines

Yesterday, I finished making Jenna’s Valentine’s for her classroom party. I love the idea of giving flower seed packets instead of candy, so I was pretty excited about these. Jenna also seemed pretty happy with these little boxes, until she saw the Valentine’s I’m making for her brother. More on that later this week when I get done cutting, folding, gluing and filling 21 paper Minecraft treasure boxes.

flower seed valentines: give packets of flower seeds instead of candy for classroom valentines

Valentine’s Day Dominoes

Valentine's Day Dominoes Gift Idea

My children don’t actually understand the rules of dominoes, but they love aligning the little pieces in all sorts of configurations and carefully stacking them sideways only to knock them down in a quick procession. This year, I made a set of Valentine’s themed dominoes using small rectangular pieces of wood purchased at the craft store and paper-punched heart shapes.

Valentine's Day Dominoes - DIY gift

Design Your Own Dishes

sharpie drawing dishes

I’ve been seeing all sorts of hand-drawn dishes popping up on Pinterest lately. Using no more than Sharpie markers and plain dinnerware, it seems you can create gorgeous designs.  I love the look of these – and the idea of Jenna designing her own set of dishes – but was a little skeptical about how well the markers would work. We tried it out this weekend, and the results are pretty awesome. I think I might need to run to Ikea soon to buy more inexpensive china.

sharpie drawing dishes

We started with a few of our plates, Sharpie oil markers in silver and gold, and a black porcelain marker.

sharpie drawing dishes

We each drew our our designs on the plates. For me, it was a little intimidating to get started. I don’t draw very well and there’s little possibility for correction with the markers. I tried to wipe off an area that I wanted to redo, but the color didn’t budge. It seemed to dry immediately. I later discovered that the color doesn’t hold up very well in the dishwasher, so if you end up with a design you don’t like, just wash the dish in the dishwasher instead of baking it in the oven and it will likely come off entirely.

Once we were finished with our drawings, we baked the dishes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and let everything cool in the oven before removing.

This was a ton of fun for both Jenna and me and the markers worked really well. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to hold up in the dishwasher. I tried washing them in the dishwasher and the design of one plate was perfectly intact, while another disappeared entirely. For now, I’ll probably hand-wash them.

sharpie drawing dishes

I think our designs are pretty adorable and would work great as teacher gifts and Valentine’s Day gifts. I also think I might try this as a children’s activity during our next dinner party.

sharpie drawing dishes

Oh, and Jenna loves eating from her Jenna plate:

design your own dishes

Cardboard Gingerbread House Gift Tags

cardboard gingerbread house gift tags

We’ve purchased most of our gifts online this year, so boxes showing up at our house is almost a daily occurrence. The stack of boxes in the garage is getting pretty tall, so this weekend I decided to put some of the cardboard to use by making gingerbread house gift tags. I had planned to make them by myself – you know, so Jason and Jenna wouldn’t wonder why Santa was using our homemade gift tags – but Jenna can always tell when I’ve got something crafty going on in the office and it wasn’t long before she was in on the action. Since starting school, Jason has become much more interested in coloring and crafts, so of course, he joined in.

These are very easy to make and could be used as gift tags or ornaments. I started by cutting a few panels off of cardboard boxes (in areas that didn’t have any printing) and then made a couple of house patterns out of regular paper. I traced the patterns onto the cardboard and then cut the cardboard using a ruler and extacto knife. We used a white Galaxy Marker (which can be purchased at Hobby Lobby) and charcoal crayons to decorate the houses. Once the houses were complete, I used a hole punch at the top and then tied some silver twine through the hole.

cardboard1

cardboard2

And now we have our very first present under the tree:

carboard-wrap